The International 2016 highlighted the importance of the drafting stage more than any other tournament in the recent history of Dota. With 105 heroes picked and banned during the Seattle Lan stage, it is clear that adhering to a single strategy might not be the best course of action. Granted, there were some picks which were popular throughout the whole tournament, but there was no natural, predefined progression to the follow-ups in the draft.
It happens after every premier tournament, but especially after The International: Everyone comes home, loads up Dota, and plays the same heroes that dominated the tournament. The effort is part sentimental, trying to emulate your favorite professional players and their heroes within your game. But it’s also part exploitation, by using the heroes that dominated the main stage.
The past year has seen an incredible progression towards a meta that has been more diverse than any before. With 105/110 hero picks during the LAN portion of The International 2016, this meta will easily enter the history books of Dota 2. With such a diverse meta, it begs the question, why the left out heroes weren’t worth considering, especially considering the past International, where heroes like Lina and Leshrac were amongst the top picks. Why do they not matter anymore?
The International 6 was full of great games—courtesy of an excellent patch and seemingly equal power levels of the participating teams. Analyzing the tournament meta is close to impossible with a relatively even spread across hero contest rates, even throughout the main event. If previously, when pressed against a wall, teams would resort to the comfort picks, this time the exact opposite was true—on the brink of elimination experiments had to be made and one-dimensional teams were among the first to leave.
With a 3-1 victory over Digital Chaos, Wings Gaming became this year’s TI champions. This year’s prize pool broke records once again. Second place finishers DC will take home $3.4 million, while Wings Gaming will take the grand prize of the Aegis and $9.1 million.
For the past four years at The International, foundry10 has been studying Dota 2, researching the connections between video games and human cognition. It’s an out of the box approach to understanding how humans think and learn, but that’s the kind of philosophy that has guided this local, Seattle organization.
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